Community builder from way back. Coauthor of "Creating Community Anywhere." Doing what i can in Ashland to help small-scale, sustainable farmers find land they can farm long term and support themselves while feeding the community. One of my gifts is helping people develop emotional sustainability. Just launching a blog,, to help as many people as possible learn to shift from worry and paralysis to joy and effective action. Am encouraging blog-viewers to share practices, tips, questions and stories. And to build better buddy systems for mutual support. In this blog, I draw on my 20+ years in private practice as a clinical hypnotherapist and life coach. I also draw on all my years in small and large groups and organizations where I learned about and trained people in the skills and art of collaboration.

Tell us about a meaningful experience you have had with self-organizing and/or ways you are engaging with new forms of leadership and organization.: I recently took part in an open-space process at the Local Food Security Conference in Ashland. Loved the energy, excitement and creative ideas liberated by the facilitators' encouraging us to listen to our inner promptings and act on them. Reminded me of the remarkable discoveries about group process that I experienced during my visits to the Findhorn Community in Northern Scotland in the 1970s and 1990s. In work groups, when we stilled our mind, calmed our emotions and listened to those inner promptings, we made collective decisions so easily. I'm now inspired to integrate these collective-wisdom practices into local sustainability initiatives in Ashland.

When you think about leadership in a self-organizing world, what questions are cooking you? What do you hope to learn at this gathering?: In my experience, the secret to transforming our life and our world, is to hold simultaneously a clear-eyed view of current reality AND a compelling vision of the world we want to co-create. My questions: How can we do this while meeting and respecting each person where they are--acknowledging their fear, anger, and sadness without feeding these or joining them in the heaviness? And how can we do this internally with the parts within us that are scared, mad and sad? How can we bring our whole authentic self to our endeavors? How can we develop the emotional and spiritual maturity to cooperate with honesty and love and responsibility? I've been in too many groups in which subconscious, unacknowledged shadow issues--disowned parts of ourselves--undermined and, in some cases, destroyed the important work we were doing together. How can we prevent this in the short time we have to turn around the world as we have known it? I also have a more practical question--one that tends to trigger the shadow issues. How can we join together in valuing and materially supporting those who are dedicated to developing self-organizing skills and sustainable practices? Especially those who have so dedicated themselves to this that they haven't had time to generate a dependable income stream or financial asset base for themselves? I feel a strong impulse to learn more about new developments in self-organizing processes. Have been out of the loop for awhile. My sense is that, as more and more groups learn and practice these approaches, the members will remember how innately resourceful and creative they are. This is crucial during these disorienting times when it's so easy to feel small and powerless in the face of unprecedented crises. I want to find ever more effective ways to help people get energized by the excitement of generating more simple and satisfying ways of living, working and playing together.